Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards celebrate impact of University of Regina alumni

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: August 16, 2022 1:00 p.m.

2022 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards recipients
2022 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards recipients Photo: UAC

The University of Regina is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards (ACAAs) by recognizing five remarkable members of its alumni community. This year’s honourees reflect a wide array of academic and professional disciplines including a mathematician, a community organizer, a social worker, a journalist, and a leader in the film and television industry.

“It’s no secret that our alumni make a difference – contributing to their communities and fields of expertise both at home and abroad,” said Dr. Jeff Keshen, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor. “Through their outstanding personal and professional achievements, recipients of the Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards are an inspiration to their fellow alumni, current students, and the wider community.”

Preparations have already begun for the October 13th awards night gala that will recognize these five deserving alumni. Excitement is growing as the event will once again be held in-person after an online-only hiatus of several years due to COVID.

This year’s award recipients include:

Valerie Creighton C.M., S.O.M., BFA’89

An advocate for the arts and creative industries, Valerie Creighton C.M., S.O.M., BFA’89 is the winner of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. She has provided visionary leadership for some of the country’s most important arts and culture institutions, and is recognized nationally and internationally for her contributions to the film and television industry, and leadership in the arts. The values that were instilled in Creighton while growing up in Saskatchewan, and attending the University of Regina are the foundation of her successful career. “This award is a phenomenal reflection of what a university education can do for you, and I know it will be the catalyst for so many others to live a life as interesting as mine has been and continues to be,” Creighton says. “I’m very humbled and appreciative of the recognition.”

Dr. Kathie Cameron BScHons’76

Dr. Kathie Cameron BScHons’76 is a highly regarded mathematician and educator. As one of the University of Regina's earliest mathematics graduates, she graduated with high honours in the spring of 1976 — only the second woman to do so after the University became a fully autonomous institution in 1974. Throughout her long and distinguished career, Cameron has been particularly influential in representing and encouraging women in STEM, and is the winner of the 2022 Distinguished Professional Award. “I feel deeply honoured. As a woman in mathematics, I’ve often felt invisible. It feels amazing to be recognized by the university that set me on my career path,” Cameron says.

Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen BEd’02

As the youngest CEO in the 110-year history of the Regina YWCA, Melissa Coomber-Bendtsen BEd’02 has been leading the organization since 2015. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated the capacity to exercise strategic leadership in response to community needs. In both her personal and professional roles, she is a passionate advocate for social justice and change. Coomber-Bendtsen is the winner of the 2022 Humanitarian and Community Service Awards. “Receiving this award is an incredible honour particularly because I hold the University of Regina’s place in our community in such high regard,” Coomber-Bendtsen says. “That recognition is something that I value – and I’m sort of in awe by receiving it.”

Ann Bishop BA’96

As a community organizer and volunteer, Ann Bishop BA’96 is an embodiment of civic-mindedness, and the 2022 winner of the Dr. Robert and Norma Ferguson Outstanding Service Award. Some of the many organizations she has lent her time and expertise to include the Regent Park Community Association, Regina Humane Society, and the Regina Community Clinic. As a volunteer, Bishop has been instrumental in organizing the University of Regina’s Seniors’ University Group’s Big Book Sale fundraiser since 2008. “This award is very important to me,” Bishop says. “I feel I share it with my community — in particular the four women who worked alongside me on the Big Book Sale. I'm honoured to be recognized by the University of Regina.”

Molly Thomas BAJ’10

Molly Thomas BAJ'10 is an award-winning correspondent, anchor, and producer who works for CTV’s flagship documentary program W5. She joined CTV National News in 2019 as a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa after serving as a national news anchor and reporter for CTV News Channel, CTV’s national morning show YOUR MORNING and the national faith-based current affairs show Context. She started her career in Regina, where she was the co-host of CTV Regina Morning LIVE, which soon became the highest rated per capita CTV morning show in the country. Thomas has completed her Masters of Global Affairs from the University of Toronto and also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Regina. Her commitment to social justice stories has taken her to Iraq, Somalia, Bangladesh, Jordan, Haiti, Rwanda, Uganda, France, and England. With impressive international experience, Thomas has been recognized for multiple awards, including a recent National Labour Reporting Award from the Canadian Association of Journalists for her W5 story Fields of Wrath, which highlighted the plight of migrant workers during the early days of COVID-19. This year, RTDNA Canada also awarded her a National Award in Sports Excellence, for her team's profile on Toronto Raptors’ head coach, Nick Nurse. She was an international finalist for the AidEX Humanitarian & Development Journalism Award for her feature on Syria’s lost scholars and a winner of the Bronze Telly Award for her religious reporting after the 2015 Paris attacks. “It’s a great honour to get an award from my home town,” Thomas says. “I did my first ever documentary at the U of R, which then aired on a major network. Now I'm working with the top rated documentary show in the country with an incredible team. The U of R paved that way. This means a lot.”

 

The ACAAs will be held on Thursday, October 13 at the Queensbury Centre in the REAL District.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit alumni.uregina.ca/ACAA

The 2022 Alumni Crowning Achievement Awards are presented by the URAA (University of Regina Alumni Association).